Continuing from last time, we reached a critical position and I asked the reader how best to proceed:
It turns out we can remove the diamond suit. Steve points out the following
- Move: ca, ga, fh, fd, af, a4=f6, a9=c0, da, a2=d1, dg, df, af, ga, hf, aj, a3=c8, c2=e2, jc,
- Move: ag, ag, ha, hg (clear diamonds)
The result is shown below (I have pretended the Diamonds were not moved to the foundations for clarity). We can then proceed with a turnover in column 1.
Bart found pretty much the same sequence (not the exact moves, but clears Diamonds and turns over column 1). I will not present Bart’s exact move sequence.
Unfortunately, Steve did not play this. He writes that “either I did not see the plan or I did not like the after-play”. It’s obviously impossible to reverse engineer his thought processes, not to mention that Steve had to record the moves for over 300 games, so it’s not really practical to record the reasoning behind every move of every game (just recording moves is already a significant effort). But judging from his actual choice, I’m guessing Steve didn’t see the plan.
Steve instead turns over column 9. This exposes three Aces and forfeits the Diamond suit. Not to mention burning both empty columns just for one turnover. The only advantage of this plan is it gets a difficult task out of the way (turning column 9) while it’s still possible. Personally, I would be extremely reluctant to expose three aces and knock back a full suit of Diamonds. I would need several good excuses to justify that, and this isn’t even close.
The exact move sequence is not important and I leave it as the proverbial exercise for the reader to verify this position is reachable from the previous game state.
At least Steve draws a good card (the Two of Spades) getting back “one hole + one turnover”. The next card in column 1 would have been much worse (to avoid spoilers, I will not reveal what that card was), and Steve’s post-mortem analysis says the “superior play” would have actually cost him the game in practice.
Steve is able to extract all face-down cards in column 9. There are (in order), 9h, 2h, 2c. The exact move sequence is trivial and not given here.
To summarise, Steve has managed to extract three face-down Twos in a single column, that was buried by random junk including three “unmatched Aces”. A lucky break if there ever was one, but I believe Steve has demonstrated enough skill (his book contains several examples, not just the profiled game) to earn some good luck!